SM168: Progressive Lessons for Early Gaelic Harp

Tutor Book
Progressive Lessons for
Early Gaelic Harp

Cover Image: Early Gaelic Harp

A new tutor book based on the traditional curriculum as collected from the last of the old Irish harpers in the 18th century.

Buy this book now    Book + CD: £15.00 + p&p

This book has been replaced by Progressive Lessons (2017 edition)




Other books and CDs by Simon Chadwick

Contents & Audio Clips from CD


Practical consideration
Tradition bearers
First hand position
The learner's curriculum
Mailí Bhán
Burns March
Other music
Further reading
Glossary & index
CD track listing

About this book

The early Gaelic harp (early Irish harp, early clàrsach) is a rare and wonderful instrument, different in many fundamental ways from all other harps. Its high status tradition stretches back over 1000 years, yet it became completely extinct in the 19th century. Now there is a small but intense revival of the historical Gaelic harp tradition and it is possible to learn to play the ancient repertory on a replica instrument.

This tutor book presents the historical curriculum as collected in the late 18th century from the last of the old harpers, as the tradition was dying out. The three beginners' tunes are presented, transcribed from the source manuscripts, along with comprehensive background information on the history of the tradition, the structure and design of the instrument, its tuning, and the old harpers. The CD has demonstrations of all of the tunes played on replica harps with brass, silver and gold wire strings as well as sung versions of the associated songs, and demonstrations of the two main tuning systems.

The Early Gaelic Harp Emporium web site includes online resources to complement the book, including video clips, links to facsimiles of the manuscript pages as well as further reading and other information.

Simon Chadwick states on his excellent web site:

"The historical Gaelic harp tradition was not taught through the medium of writing, neither with the written word nor with written music notation. This was not because its practitioners were stupid, but because their model of teaching and learning, and also their way of composing and performing music, did not require writing. It's my opinion that we can best appreciate the historical tradition if we too try and avoid written scores.

Obviously in the absence of living masters, we do rely on writing and notation; you are reading this, and all of the repertory and technique has been reconstructed from manuscripts and early printed books. But for performance and teaching, I prefer to emphasise imitation and memorisation wherever possible. It is possible to play the early Gaelic harp to a high level without being able to read music notation. I am not a fluent music notation reader."


Library Information

Title: Progressive Lessons for Early Gaelic Harp
Composer/Arranger: Various arranged Simon Chadwick
Instrumentation: Gaelic Harp
Level: Tutor Book
Format: Stapled + CD
Size: A5
Total Pages: 52
Weight: 100gm
ISMN: Not issued
Our Ref: SM168
Publisher: Early Gaelic Harp Info
Edition/Year: First Edition 2009
Origin: UK

Sample pages

Sample of the music
Sample of the music